Researchers Dr Concetta Bubici and Dr Salvatore Papa
Researchers Dr Concetta Bubici and Dr Salvatore Papa. Photo credit: brunel.ac.uk

Brunel researcher Dr Concetta Bubici and Dr Salvatore Papa of the Institute of Hepatology London are leading research that starves cancer cells of a vital protein called PARP 14, which allows uncontrolled growth.

Cancerous cells use glucose to fuel their uncontrolled growth, therefore focusing on inhibiting this process could effectively lead to a cure.

Lead academic Dr Bubici from the College of Health and Life Sciences explained, “The protein PARP 14 is over-produced in virtually every human cancer...its role in cancer is to allow cells to harness glucose which in turn powers their rapid, uncontrolled growth while also protecting them from the normal cycle of programmed cell death.”

Cancer cells not only divide very quickly, but they become immune to the body's natural checks meaning that unlike normal cells their life is not restricted. Further complications occur when the cancer cells travel via the blood and spread throughout the body, harming critical organs. This is why early detection and treatment are key.

Inhibiting the production of the PARP 14 protein could effectively stop the cancer cells from dividing and growing uncontrollably, therefore killing it at the source.

At this early stage in the research a PARP 14 inhibiting drug is still many years away, however this is definitely one to watch.